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Kimberly Parker: Sugar Skull

Kimberly Parker

Senior Art Blog

Sugar Skull 

A sugar skull is a one of a kind decoration and symbol. Sugar skulls celebrate and honor the dead. There is a holiday in Mexico called “The Day of the Dead” and instead of mourning over the dead, they celebrate their lives. The people of Mexico use these sugar skulls to symbolize death by using a skull, and decorating it with bright festive colors to celebrate the death. This quarter, we were asked to make our own sugar skulls. So, I did my independent research about what sugar skulls really were. I sketched an idea in my sketchbook, seeing what designs I would like on my sugar skull. I looked up some ideas online and finally saw a sugar skull that I really liked. I sketched something similar to it and then began my construction of my skull. 

We used paper mache, water, a straw, and lots of Vaseline to do construct the skulls! First I laid down on the table and had my peer Christian get the paper mache and water ready to put on my face. While I was on the table, I rubbed Vaseline all over my face, over my eyebrows and lips so the paper mache would not stick to my face and the mask would come right off after it hardened. I put a straw in my mouth so I would be able to breathe. Christian then began to put the paper mache over my face, pressing dow on every piece to mold the mask into the shape of my face. After putting layers and layers of this paper mache on, we waited for the mask to harden, this took about five or six minutes. 

After the mask hardened, we peeled it off of my face, immediately I wanted to wipe the slimy Vaseline off of my face! During the next art period, I used a pencil to start sketching out on my skull the designs I wanted. I did not erase anything on it once. Once I started to sketch, I liked everything that I drew. Once the sketching was done, I picked out all of the bright colors I wanted. I mixed red and white to make the pink, blue and yellow to make the green I wanted, and so on. I used different brushes for different parts and different brush strokes. I painted until I felt like I had my sugar skull master piece. That is what I ended up with, a master piece! 

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Sugar Skull & My Art Work

  • Explain in your own words what a sugar skull is.

    Sugar skull to me looks like something that may have been involved with old anicent culture. It looks like it may have been used to scare animals when hunting or maybe the mask could just be an old ritual. 

  • Explain how you came up with the design for your mask/skull.
    I came up with my design by getting some of my inspiration from other sugar skulls that I've seen.

  • Explain the process from beginning to the end, the process that you went from having no mask to having a finished and painted mask. 
    Well I thought that it was very hard finding someone who would want to do it because at first everyone seemed to volunteer to do it but as soon as they saw the whole process, some people bailed. But once I had a mask and tried to make the design I wanted, I saw that the people who designed them took their time and really put a lot of work into it. 
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    Christian Gelbolingo: Sugar Skull

    Explain in your own words what a sugar skull is.
    Sugar Skulls or "calaveras de azúcar" are exactly what its name says. They are made by pressing granulated sugar into skull molds. Once the sugar is dried, they are decorated with colored icing, flowers, paint, sequins, etc. While sugar skulls are edible, they are mostly used for decorative purposes especially on Dia de los Muertos. This Mexican holiday celebrates the lives of those who have deceased.

    Explain how you came up with the design for your mask/skull.
    I had a hard time picking a final design because I had so many ideas. At first, I wanted it to have a generic sugar skull design. However, I didn’t want mine to look like the rest… there were so many possibilities. I also thought about doing a paisley design all over or a gradient fade from the top of the head to the chin but I decided to transform my sugar skull into blackface. I didn’t paint it blackface to harm or discriminate against anyone, I simply did it because I liked how minimalistic the design and color scheme was. I also liked how I painted everything black and how it hid the imperfections I have made while making the mold. A few days later, I decided that I wasn’t quite satisfied with the design and repainted my skull. I decided to paint a white flower around the eyes but kept the middle black. I also painted cheekbones with white paint and made a gradient effect. To finish it off, I carefully painted the gloss over, making sure that the other colors didn’t mix.

    Explain the process from beginning to the end, the process that you went from having no mask to having a finished and painted mask.
    Before I made my sugar skull, I watched the other students make theirs so that I can learn what do to and what not to do. I decided to make a mold of Zach Castro’s face by simply using water and plaster sheets. I waited until my next art class for it to completely dry because I did not want to risk it breaking apart. When it was finally dry, I cut off random pieces of sting and excess plaster to smooth out the edges of the mask. My design/painting process was the most difficult part (read #2 for details) but the final product was beautiful and I am satisfied.

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    Eric Cartman


         Él es bastante gordo, y de vez en cuando él es algo simpático. Sin embargo, casi siembre él es muy grande anos, súper antipático, y increiblemente mal estar de vago. Él es tiene 8 años Americano. Es de parke del sul. Es chévere, pero es molestón.

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    Paul F. Tompkins

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    Se llama es Paul F. Tompkins. Él es familia amigo.Tiene cuarenta y cuatro años. Él es siempre increiblemente cómico. Es un poquito bajo y es moreno. Le gusta trabajar. Le encanta pasar un rato con amigos. Además él no le gusta nada nadar. Él es trabajador y súper sipático. Es por eso que él es muy divertido.
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    Levy, Leo. Lucidchart, Home Network

    My L.A.N. consists of a series of airports and airport expresses, broadcasting wifi to all the individual devices in my home. This is in conjunction to the hardwired ethernet connections, and my entertainment system. Before this class, I had approximately no knowledge at all, whatsoever, even slightly, about home networks or any networks to be honest. Now, I can proudly say that I have a very very minimal understanding of networks, clearly a vast improvement over my old situation. One word of advice, have someone who understands your network explain it to you. Very, very slowly. 
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    Sugar Skull Project

    1. Explain in your own words what a sugar skull is.
    2. Explain how you came up with the design for your mask/skull.
    3. Explain the process from beginning to the end, the process that you went from having no mask to having a finished and painted mask. 

      A sugar skull is used in the Mexican "Day of the Dead" that usually takes place a day after Halloween.  The skull is usually adorned with many colorful designs, or in some cases black and white.  The skull is to represent a deceased family member.  My design for my skull is a simple black and white design that was inspired by paisley and Mayan artifacts.  The first part of creating my sugar skull included plastering a friend's face for the mold of my mask (THANKS FRANKIE!), then once the mask dried, I painted over the mask with white paint to give the mask a solid base.  Then I began painting my design from the forehead down.  

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    Julian Casablancas

    Se llama Julian Fernando Casablancas.  Su cumpleaños es el 23 de agosto.  Tiene treinta y cuatro años.  Es de Nueva York pero vive en Los Angeles.  Él es el cantante de The Strokes.  Él es cómico, divertido, algo trabajador, increiblemente talentoso y muy creativo.  Y como si fuera poco, él es también guapo y bastante encantador.  Le siempre encanta cantar y escuchar música, y le gusta relajar y leer.  No le gusta practicar deportes, estudiar, o hablar por teléfono. 
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    My oldest sister Jennifer

    Se llama Jennifer. Tiene Veintiocho años. Ella es Filadefia pero vive en Baltimore. Ella es inteligente, divertida, y simpática. Ella es habladora,  baja, delgada y guapa. Le gusta leer, ir de compras, hablar por teléfono y escuchar música. No le gusta nada y ir a la escuela. 
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    Trey Songz

    Su nombre es Trey Songz. Tiene veinte siete. Es de Petersburg, Virginia pero vive en Miami. El es canta y baliar. El es basante guapo y súper sociable. El es increiblemente lindo. No le gusta nada ayudar en casa.
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    Loren Jenkins Sugar Skull

    1. Explain in your own words what a sugar skull is.
      - A sugar skull is a skull that either be a mask or even candy. They symbolize the mexican culture. The sugar skulls are created on the Day of the Dead, weddings, and sometimes even birthdays. They also can be sold for funds and can people can slaos create their own at festivals
    2. Explain how you came up with the design for your mask/skull.
      - I can up with my skull design by looking up masks designs ans trying to create my own. I took snips of ideas to create my mask.
    3. Explain the process from beginning to the end, the process that you went from having no mask to having a finished and painted mask. 
      - My first process was trying to create a drawling that could have possibly be the final sugar skull mask. It was not anywhere near what I was planning to create. Although, I did my best.
    This is my collection of the Quarter 1 assignments that I have completed and Created. 
    My collection inculdes My head,hands,feet, and eyes.
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    Javier Peraza

    Él es Javier. Le gusta practicar deportes. Él es moreno y mås o menos alto. Él es de Filadelfia. Él es muy hablador y comico. Depende del dîa él es un poquito perezoso. A veces él es increiblemente serio. Él es también deportista. 
    Photo on 11-21-12 at 11.27 AM
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    Sugar Skull and more

    ​  A sugar skull is a traditional Mexican mask or candy used to celebrate the day of the dead. They are often put on graves and sometimes even eaten. I wasn't sure of what I wanted to do with my sugar skull but I like how it turned out. When I started to paint my skull I just covered it in black paint. Then I made the yellow eyes and everything took off from there. Once the stripes were made I decided just to go for the Cheshire Cat look. 
                                                Finished Mask

                                              Photo on 11-21-12 at 10.58 AM  

                                                 Other Art From The Quarter 
                                                 Photo on 9-23-12 at 4.21 PM

                                                 Photo on 10-7-12 at 12.12 AM

                                                  Photo on 10-7-12 at 12.12 AM #2
                                                  Photo on 10-7-12 at 12.13 AM

                                              Photo on 10-7-12 at 12.13 AM #2

                                                Photo on 10-7-12 at 12.15 AM

                                                   Photo on 10-21-12 at 2.09 PM 

                                                   Photo on 10-21-12 at 2.10 PM

                                                 Photo on 10-24-12 at 9.09 AM

                                                    Photo on 11-4-12 at 4.16 PM


                                                     This Picture was Re done 
                                                       Photo on 10-24-12 at 10.29 PM
                                                    And Turned out like this..
                                                      Photo on 11-4-12 at 4.44 PM

                                                 Works In Progress 

                                                     Photo on 11-21-12 at 8.34 AM #2

                                                   Photo on 11-21-12 at 8.35 AM

                                                      Photo on 11-21-12 at 8.35 AM #3

                                                    Photo on 11-21-12 at 8.36 AM

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    Quarter 1

    ​In quarter 1, in art class, we decided to make sugar skulls. A sugar skull is a home made skull with beautiful and creative design on a skull. sugar skulls were made to leave out at a graveyard or at home for the family members or friends that had died in the past, for a mexican holiday called "Dia de los Muertos", which means Day of the Dead. Day of the Dead takes on November 1st every year on the calendar, right after Halloween. The picture below is my sugar skull that I had created. Before I could of started to paint on my skull, we had to draw our skull on our sketch book for what do we wanted our sugar skulls to look like, in order to start painting. After designing our drawings, we had ask anyone in the class to volunteer to do cover there face with plast'r to make the face.
    After letting the plast'r dry, you have to peel carefully on the person face. It can take a couple of hours to let it dry after you peel it off. The wait was over now and it was time to paint. I wanted my Sugar Skull to pop, so I took yellow, black, red, and blue. I even made some of my own colors that were purple, pink, and burgundy. I was proud with my design and the way it came out, it wasn't exactly how I wanted to come out from the very first beginning but it came out good and I had enjoyed doing this assignment.
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    ​These are the rest of my drawings that is in my sketch book !
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    Vincent Capitolo

    Se llama Vincent Capitolo. Tiene catorce años. Él es de Filadelfia. Él es bastante gordo. Él es muy bajo. Es increiblmente inteligente. Es mi hermano. Él está italiano. Es molestón. Le gusta estar de vago. Es uno de mis mejores amigos. 
    Screen Shot 2012-11-21 at 9.14.48 AM
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    Getting Digital (Q1 Senior Art Work)

    ​For the first quarter in art class I was supposed to do a sugar skull but, honestly, It didn't interest me or benefit me to do so. (Sorry about that, by the way). I did do research into what it was, it's origins, and helped a class mate design hers but giving suggestions and pointers by I didn't physically make my own. I learned that sugar skulls originated as an art form from the Italian missionaries and was adopted by the Mexican culture because they were poor but abundant in sugar. 
    What's important to me right now is improving my digital art skills because my future projects, college life, and career are going to be based around doing that. So kick things off, I look at my necessities for this quarter (starting my capstone and designing the yearbook cover) and worked on making them into digital art. 
    I started off this year brainstorming for yearbook and brainstorming a main character design for my capstone animation. Below is the first character I designed; Ailsing. After I was done making her I realized that I needed to work on my shading and work on not leaving the original sketch on the under layer. 
    This my original design for the yearbook Cover. I wanted to do something different with the year book cover, style wise. Last year we had a very realistic and detailed cover and it was beautiful. This year, I wanted to try to make something more cartoon-like. After talking with a couple people and getting opinions from the people who would be buying this yearbook, I made adjustments that ended up leading to the final cover.
    Scan 16
    2012-13 cover
    Inbetween the making of the original and the making of the final I talked around to a lot of people and was informed that for an animation I'm going to have to redraw my main characters over and over again. That being said, I decided to "dumb down", in a sense, my art to something more simple. I ended up making Romp and Retta. These two are simple, easy for me to redraw and good for me to practice shading and angles. 
    Scan 22
    Scan 19
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    I did this picture aside from the yearbook cover and capstone and I used the experience and practice from those to make this. I noticed that I need to be more conscious of body proportioning and positioning. 
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    Sugar Skull

    A sugar skull is a symbol that is used to help celebrate the Day of the Dead which is a Mexican holiday. A sugar skull is a skull that is painted a certain way, its covered in designs and normally is mainly black and white. Sugar skulls are suppose to be very detailed and have some color. Red is a commonly used color. 

    I came up with the design for my sugar skull by looking online at many different mask designs to use for reference. My mask has bits and pieces of other masks that I saw with my own personal touch. Many things in this mask were painted in the moment, I thought they would look cool so I tried it out and in the end the mask kind of all flows together. 

    To start, we had to learn about what sugar skulls were and spent time looking them up and practicing drawing them. After that, we learned how to plaster masks and saw a demo. This demo lead right into the making of the masks, the mask I made is of Wynn's face. After the plastered mask is dry, the painting begun. I started by getting all the paint I needed to use and then put on the first coat of paint. I had to let it dry before I put more paint on. The second coat I put on was the white paint, I went back and put details on the mask and also outlined the designs I made in color. This helped the mask pop and brought the mask together. When I added the white paint and designs is when my mask started to look a sugar skull. Even though I was done, I still continued to go back and add more details the following class period to make the white paint looked better and to fix any errors I hadn't caught earlier.I think the different layers of colors and designs really makes the mask pop. 
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    Taahir Henry Quarter 1: Sugar Skull

    A sugar skull, is an artists rendering of a human skull. They are made from hardened sugar, the use of sugar art is something that was introduced to Mexico by Italian missionaries. The abundance of sugar in Mexico, meant that it was both cheap and easy to obtain, which allowed for the sugar art to catch on fast.  Sugar skulls have become an important part of observing and celebration of the Mexican holiday (El dia de los Muertos/The Day of the Dead) Sugar skulls tend to incorporate the use of floral patterns and/ or other intricate designs, as well as diamonds.

    I came up with the design for my sugar skull from looking at sugar skulls that already existed.  I searched google to find several examples before starting to sketch what mine might look like. In the end however, my sugar skull became slightly more random, and less traditional. I included the the exposed teeth and jaw, with some of the outlined features, but almost everything else was football inspired. There is a diamond at the center of the skulls head, but other than that, the sugar skull that I created wasn't as customary as most sugar skulls are.

    I think the most interesting part of the entire process was the creation of the mold. We used our own faces for this process.  By placing layers of wet plaster into the contours of our faces, we could create a replica of what we looked like, but with plaster. After the plaster dried and hardened, we removed them from our faces and proceeded to paint the designs we intended for the final product.

    More information on the Day of the Dead and sugar skulls: 


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    Jeremy McKinnon

    ​Él es increiblemente sociable y simpatico. Le encanta cantar. No le gusta nada trabajar. Le fascina escuchar música. Él un poquito loco. Él es tambíen perezoso. Ademas el es súper moreno. ¡Él es un amor de gente!

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    Rafi- Rick Astly description

    Él nombre es Rick Astly. Rick Astly de custumbre moreno también rubio. Él es muy encanta bailar. Le fascina trabajor y escribir. Es de Quebec pero vive en Toronto. Él es serio pero también deportista. No me gusta nada ir de compras depende del dia y como si fuera poco él es practicar deptes.


    Él nombre es Neymar de Silva Santos Júnior. ÉL es tiene diez y nueve años. Él de Brasil pero vive en Espana. Le gusta favorito y muy excellente fútbol jugador! Sin embargo, él es basante gallito. Él es bien bajo, y él es deportisto, y muy divertido para ver. No le gusta nada, nada. Neymar en perfecto, en fútbol!

    Harry Styles

    Su nombre es Harry Styles. Tiene dieciocho años. Es de Cheshire pero vive en London. Él es alto y encantador. Le encanta cantar y bailar. Él es delgado y comico. Harry Styles es súper lindo y moreno. Él es siempre loco. Él es a veces triste. 


    Jade Esposito

    Sue nombre es Jade. Tiene trece años. Es de Fliadelphia. Ella Es súper guapa. No ella es muy fea. Ella Es siempre inteligente. Ella es bien trabajadora Ella Es bastante artistica. Ella encanta increiblemente salir con mi novia pero ella gusta un poquito pasar un rato pasar un rato con amigos. 
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